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NHS Campaign to Tackle Occupational Skin Cancer

A new initiative from NHS England aims to combat skin cancer caused by sun exposure among men who work outdoors.

‘Cover Up, Mate’ urges men who spend long periods of time outdoors to protect themselves against the sun. Farmers, builders, sportsmen and gardeners are the main focus of the campaign because of their potential prolonged exposure to solar radiation.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is a core partner in the Cover Up, Mate campaign. In turn, NHS England is supporting IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign, which aims to raise awareness of occupational cancer and help businesses take action by providing free practical resources.

In 2015, as part the No Time to Lose campaign, IOSH commissioned Imperial College London to carry out research into solar radiation exposure at work in Britain.

The research found that malignant melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – kills nearly 50 people each year.

The research also found that 42% of malignant melanoma cancer cases involve construction workers. Other sectors where melanoma cancer cases are prevalent include agriculture, public administration and defence, and land transport.

“Skin cancer caused by solar radiation exposure is preventable,” explained Kate Field, IOSH’s Head of Information and Intelligence. “Businesses around the world have signed up to our No Time to Lose campaign pledge to help tackle sun exposure at work by putting in place prevention strategies.”

“By working together with like-minded organisations, we can beat occupational cancer caused by sun exposure,” she added.

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